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Serie A Review: Scudetto Contenders Stumble In Week One

jovetic-interDisappointing performances by champions Juventus and last season’s runners-up Roma at the weekend, and those results will just intensify the pressure on both clubs when they meet in Rome next Sunday.

Juventus’s bid for a record-equalling fifth scudetto was kept in check by a stunning 1-0 defeat to Udinese on Sunday.

Massimiliano Allegri’s men had dominated throughout a one-sided encounter in Turin but paid the price for a string of missed chances when Frenchman Cyril Thereau was left unmarked to beat Gianluigi Buffon at his far post in the 78th minute. It was Juve’s first reverse at home on the opening day of the season, having suffered a rare opening day defeat in 2010 away to then top flight side Bari.

Meanwhile Roma, runners-up the past two seasons, drew at Verona on Saturday (1-1), and were outdone by city rivals Lazio, who cruised to a 2-1 win over new boys Bologna with new signing Ricardo Kishna, 20, hitting his maiden goal only months after signing from Ajax.

Napoli and AC Milan, meanwhile, fell to defeats at Sassuolo and Fiorentina respectively while Inter Milan’s blushes were only saved in the third minute of injury time when on-loan Manchester City forward Stevan Jovetic produced a fine goal to give the Nerazzurri a 1-0 home win against Atalanta.

Napoli got off to the perfect start at Sassuolo when Marek Hamsik hit their opener after three minutes, but the Emilia-Romagna outfit are a notoriously stubborn side at home. Floro Flores levelled just after the half hour after some fine individual skill yards from goal and Nicola Sansone stunned the Partenopei with the winner six minutes from time.

Milan’s bid for a first win under new coach Sinisa Mihajlovic at Fiorentina was dented in the 37th minute when Rodrigo Ely saw red for a challenge from behind on Nikola Kalinic. Marcos Alonso stepped up to curl a superb free kick inside Diego Lopez’s far post and Josip Ilicic doubled La Viola’s lead before the hour from the spot after he was fouled by Alessio Romagnoli.

Compounding Mihajlovic’s woes was former side Sampdoria’s 5-2 home win over new boys Carpi, thanks to a brace each for Eder and Luis Muriel. Elsewhere, Chievo – in spite of losing Thereau to Udinese – claimed a deserved 3-1 win away at Empoli and Palermo beat Genoa at home thanks to a late winner by defender Abdelhamid El Kaoutari.

Torino claimed a deserved three points at new boys Frosinone thanks to Daniele Baselli’s second-half winner after Fabio Quagliarella had cancelled out Danilo Soddimo’s seventh-minute opener for the hosts.